Review: Philips' Latest Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Brush Connects to Your iPhone via Bluetooth

by

Philips recently announced its first Bluetooth-connected Sonicare toothbrush aimed at adults, which interfaces with an iPhone to monitor brushing habits, offer brushing tips, and make sure you're brushing right.

Priced at $199, the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected takes the well-known and popular FlexCare brush and introduces iPhone connectivity through a Sonicare app that tracks everything from how long you brush to where you brush to how hard you brush.

Design and Features

I've used Sonicare brushes for upwards of 10 years so I'm familiar with most of the brushes and brush heads, and the FlexCare is one step down from the top of the line brush, the DiamondClean (my day to day brush). To be honest, I'm disappointed that Philips added Bluetooth connectivity to the FlexCare instead of the DiamondClean because it doesn't have quite as many features (3 modes instead of 5) and the non-unibody design isn't as nice.

The FlexCare Platinum Connected next to a Diamondclean brush

The FlexCare looks like your standard electric toothbrush, with a removable brush head that needs to be replaced every three months or so, a power button, and buttons for adjusting settings like intensity. Since brush heads are removable, you can share your FlexCare Connected base among several family members if you want to.


There are three cleaning modes: clean, a standard two-minute daily cleaning mode; white, a shorter mode designed to remove surface stains; and deep clean, a longer three-minute mode for a deeper clean. The main round button on the FlexCare turns it on and off, while the longer button is the one used to switch through the modes.

A third button at the bottom of the brush lets users select an intensity from one of three options: low, medium, and high. Users with sensitive gums and teeth will want to choose the low option, while the higher option will result in a better, quicker clean with up to 62,000 brush strokes a minute.


Unique to the FlexCare Platinum Connected is a set of sensors that are designed to work specifically with the app. There's a location sensor that relays where the brush is in your mouth, a pressure sensor that makes sure you're not applying too much pressure when you brush (which can damage your gums) and a scrubbing sensor to make sure you're not moving the brush too much (with a Sonicare, the brush does the work - you basically just hold it up to your teeth).

Sonicare ships the FlexCare Platinum Connected with two of its newest brush heads, the InterCare and the AdaptiveClean. Both of these brush heads are on the larger side compared to other Sonicare brush heads so they cover a lot of surface area. The InterCare brush is designed to reach more deeply between the teeth while the AdaptiveClean has flexible sides that are supposed to cover more of the tooth for a better clean.

Sonicare brush heads are supposed to be replaced every three months and cost somewhere around $10 to $15 per brush head, so that's an expense to be aware of when purchasing a toothbrush like the FlexCare Platinum Connected. Integrity of the brush head is important for better plaque removal than a manual toothbrush (Philips promises that its brushes remove as much as 10x more plaque).


Sound wise, the FlexCare Platinum Connected is louder than the DiamondClean but it isn't obnoxiously loud. It sounds like your average electric toothbrush.

The FlexCare Connected can be purchased with or without a UV sanitizer (the model with one is $20 more expensive) that can be used to sanitize brush heads. I've previously owned a UV sanitizer and while it works fine, I don't think it's an essential piece of equipment. You just stick your brush head in the container, shut the door, and turn on the light to kill germs.


It's simple enough, but there are bacteria in your mouth anyway that you can't UV sanitize and toothpaste is probably taking care of a lot of the lingering bacteria on the brush.

App

Sonicare's app isn't for tracking brushing habits over time, but for making sure you're brushing the right way in the moment, something I found to be a lot more useful than the over-time tracking feature in the Oral-B app designed for the Oral-B Bluetooth toothbrush.

sonicareappbrushinginterface
The Sonicare brush connected seamlessly and quickly to my iPhone through the Sonicare app. Using the app is done by launching it before you turn on the brush for a daily brushing session. As soon as the brush turns on, the app displays a 3D model of a mouth and guides you through brushing each quadrant of your mouth. As you brush, the teeth in the 3D model go from yellow to white to denote progress, which is quite motivating.


Using the sensors in the brush, the app can vaguely tell where the brush is located in your mouth, so it's able to detect how long you spend brushing each area. With the "Clean" setting, it walks you through two minutes of brushing and then directs you to turn the brush on again for a touchup of all the areas where you didn't spend enough time, making sure everything is thoroughly clean. It's also able to detect too much brush movement and too much pressure, sending alerts through the app each time.

sonicarepressurealert
The FlexCare Platinum Connected's movement sensors are decent, but not infallible. The app can detect which side of your teeth you're brushing in each quadrant based on the way the brush is held, but if the app is directing you to brush the upper left quadrant and you do lower right, it can't tell the difference. You have to follow along with the app for it to be effective.


I also felt like it was giving me more touch up areas than necessary, but in general, I got a more thorough clean than I do brushing on my own. As for the pressure and movement sensors, these are sensitive and effective and always accurately prevented me from pressing too hard or moving the brush back and forth too vigorously in my mouth.

I'm a dedicated brusher, but the app was still useful because it made sure I was brushing for the right amount of time and in the right way each and every time I brushed. The app also gamifies brushing, allowing users to earn points for completing tasks like brushing properly, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

For people who need more motivation to brush, it definitely works. There are also goals to work towards to achieve fresher breath, healthier gums, and whiter teeth. Most of these goals can be achieved by doing things like brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing.

sonicarebrushinggoals
What the app doesn't do well is track brushing habits over time because of a somewhat confusing layout. You can see your weekly progress towards goals you've set and export data for your dentist, it's hard to get just a quick overview of statistics like how many times you've brushed, for how long, when you've flossed, and more.

There are some quirks with the app, which I hope Philips will address in future updates. It doesn't send out brushing reminders, it doesn't always ask for specific data on whether or not I've flossed or rinsed (and thus does not catalog this data), and the design is overcomplicated with content overlap in the "Progress" and "Goals" sections that makes long-term data collection difficult, but for bare bones brushing tracking and motivating, it works.

Other app features include reminders on when to replace brush heads, battery readings, product recommendations, the ability to set focus areas based on dentist feedback, appointment tracking, and coaching for better brushing habits.

Bottom Line

At $199, the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected isn't cheap by any means, but the price point is in line with other top-of-the-line Sonicare toothbrushes from Philips, including other FlexCare and DiamondClean models. It's also a price comparable to some higher-end electric toothbrushes from companies like Oral-B.

There are a lot of people out there who use (and are satisfied with) manual toothbrushes that cost a handful of dollars, which can make a $200 toothbrush (and the replacement brush heads) sound absolutely outrageous, but as a long time devotee of the electric toothbrush and the Sonicare line in general, I believe it's worth the price point if you're looking for something that is unquestionably going to improve your dental hygiene and potentially cut down on dentist bills.

My teeth feel much cleaner when I use a Sonicare brush compared to a normal brush, and I was a big fan of the two brushes that came with the FlexCare Platinum Connected. They easily reached all of my teeth with little effort and left my mouth feeling clean for hours.

If you already own a Sonicare and are in need of an upgrade, the FlexCare Platinum Connected is worth looking at, but if you already own an electric brush, the features the app adds probably aren't worth investing in something new. They're nice to have, especially for people who need a little extra motivation to get their daily brushing in or those who want to make sure they're brushing thoroughly, but ultimately, it's the brush and the brush head that are doing all the work cleaning your teeth, not the app.

philipssonicareflexcareconnected
That said, features like pressure sensing are invaluable for someone like me -- I brush much too hard when left to my own devices and that's caused some problems for me in the past -- and it was also nice to know when I didn't spend enough time in one area. If you're looking for a better brushing experience and don't mind investing the money, the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is a solid choice.

Pros:

  • Thoroughly cleans teeth
  • Gentle on gums
  • App encourages better brushing habits
  • Sensor alerts for pressure/movement
  • Two week battery life

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • App interface is confusing
  • Brush heads must be replaced
  • FlexCare brush handle needs to be dried after each use to prevent mold growth

How to Buy

The Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected can be purchased for $199 from the Philips website or from Amazon.com. A version with a UV brush head sanitizer is also available for $219.99.

Note: Philips provided the Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
49 months ago
Waiting on bluetooth toilet paper to alert me if i didnt wipe correctly or if im using too much paper. Imagine the saving of toilet paper in the long run.

.....
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
I'm waiting for the Bluetooth Bidet option to do the same functionality too!
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
Wow... This reminds me of the bluetooth-equipped fork. Not everything in life needs to be connected.

I do love my basic sonicare but paying $20 for 3 replacement heads is a straight rip-off. It's like having to replace razor blades or ink cartridges. I might be downgrading back to a manual brush soon because of it. I have to save that money for Apple Watch 2 :D
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago

I bought this toothbrush and after more then a month I can say - I am very happy. Before it I used Diamond care , but the new one is better. Using the phone and the Sonicare app helps me to control mainly the pressure.
In combination with the Waterpik waterflosser - my aural hygien is much better.

You use a toothbrush... and a waterpik? How freaking big are your ears?o_O:eek::D:p

Myself, I just use a Q-Tip.;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
But I don't want blue teeth! :D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
49 months ago
“You want to make a hair beret WITH BLUETOOTH?”
“Penny, everything is better with bluetooth!”
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

'This App is No Longer Shared' iOS Bug Preventing Some Apps From Opening

Friday May 22, 2020 3:58 pm PDT by
An app bug is causing some iOS users to be unable to open their apps, with affected iPhone and iPad users seeing the message "This app is no longer shared with you" when attempting to access an app. There are multiple complaints about the issue on the MacRumors forums and on Twitter from users who are running into problems. A MacRumors reader describes the issue:Is anyone else experiencing...

Apple Memorial Day Deals: Shop the Best Apple Accessory Sales From Twelve South, eBay, Anker, Mophie, and More

Friday May 22, 2020 6:39 am PDT by
We're now just a few days away from Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, and numerous retailers have opened up discounts in celebration of the holiday. This includes sales on helpful Apple-related accessories like Anker's portable batteries, Beats headphones at eBay, Incase and Incipio's protective iPad and iPhone cases, Mophie's iPhone battery cases, JBL's Bluetooth speakers, and much more. Note:...

Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall Shares Intriguing Story of His Interview With Steve Jobs at NeXT

Friday May 22, 2020 4:01 am PDT by
Former Apple executive and iOS chief Scott Forstall made a rare public appearance this week at Code.org's virtual Code Break event, and in between classes, Forstall shared the intriguing story of how he was hired by Steve Jobs. Forstall revealed that he had been considering working at Microsoft when he went to interview at NexT, the company started by Jobs after he had left Apple. Forstall...

'Apple Glass' Rumored to Start at $499, Support Prescription Lenses, and More

Tuesday May 19, 2020 6:30 am PDT by
Front Page Tech host and leaker Jon Prosser today shared several alleged details about Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses, including an "Apple Glass" marketing name, $499 starting price, prescription lens option, and more. The marketing name will be "Apple Glass" The glasses will start at $499 with the option for prescription lenses at an extra cost There will be displays in both...

Apple's 'Bounce' AirPods Ad Wins 'Best of Advertising' Award

Friday May 22, 2020 10:09 am PDT by
Apple's creative "Bounce" ad designed to highlight the AirPods took top honors in the 99th annual ADC (Art Director's Club) awards for advertising, earning the "Best of Discipline" award along with two Gold Cube awards in the craft in video and branded content categories. Released in June 2019, the ad features a bored man who pulls his AirPods off of their wireless charging pad and then pops ...

Apple's 'AirPods Studio' Over-Ear Headphones Have Reportedly Kicked Off Production

Friday May 22, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
We've been hearing quite a bit recently about Apple's long-rumored over-ear headphones, said to be called "AirPods Studio," and it looks like a launch may be coming in the relatively near future. Artist mockup based on Beats Studio3 Rumors have generally suggested a summer or fall launch for AirPods Studio, with a report earlier this week claiming that suppliers in Vietnam will begin...

Top Stories: Apple Glass and iPhone 12 Rumors, iOS 13.5 Update, and More!

Saturday May 23, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
It was another big week for rumors this week, with a flurry of reports about Apple's augmented reality glasses, the iPhone 12, and Apple's "AirPods Studio" over-ear headphones. This week also saw the release of iOS 13.5, bringing a number of health-related updates to Apple's mobile devices. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Other topics of interest this week included ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 13.5 With Exposure Notification API, Face ID Mask Updates, Group FaceTime Changes and More

Wednesday May 20, 2020 10:00 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.5, major updates that come more than a month after the launch of iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1. iOS 13.5 is a major health-related update that brings many features related to the ongoing public health crisis. The iOS and ‌‌iPadOS‌‌ 13.5 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings...

Jon Prosser Claims Apple is Working on 'Steve Jobs Heritage Edition' AR Glasses, Gurman Calls Rumor 'Complete Fiction'

Thursday May 21, 2020 4:50 pm PDT by
Apple is working on a limited-edition version of its augmented reality smart glasses that's designed to look like the round, frameless glasses that Steve Jobs was famous for wearing, according to Jon Prosser. Prosser, who runs YouTube show Front Page Tech and who has been sharing a flood of Apple rumors in recent weeks, mentioned the detail in Cult of Mac's latest Cultcast podcast....

T-Mobile and Sprint Offering Free iPhone SE With Trade-In

Thursday May 21, 2020 1:14 pm PDT by
T-Mobile is launching a Memorial Day promotion that will see the company offering a free iPhone SE to customers who trade in an eligible older smartphone in good condition. From Friday to Monday, customers who trade in an existing smartphone can get a free iPhone SE (sales tax still needs to be paid) or up to $500 off a Samsung Galaxy S20. The free iPhone SE will be provided in the form...